Test #5 of the Test Test asks if the development team values the test team. Catherine pointed out that value needs to happen in every direction. I agree with her completely, and would also add that trust is a huge part of the equation.
So, how do you build trust and value?
I’m going to sound like a broken record on these points, but it takes time to build trust, and for others to recognize value in what you do. Some things that almost always work are:
- Work together on schedules, and come to a common understanding of what “done” is (see this post too). Often, developers don’t understand all of the different aspects of testing (and testers may not understand the details of development), so working together is a way to develop trust between disciplines (and come up with better schedules too.
- Don’t fluff your schedule – along the same lines, when you are asked to set a schedule, be accurate, and explain what you will be doing. If you want others to value you, you need to be credible and show that you know what you’re doing.
- Hold up your end of the bargain. If you agree to do something or agree to a deadline, do it. If something comes up and you can’t, apologize and provide a time/date when you will be done. If you want to lose credibility quickly, just ignore deadlines and promises.
- Perhaps the most important building block for creating value is to make your work valuable. If the testers role is to provide information, you should provide valuable information. The “collateral” you provide from your testing activities has the potential to influence decisions across your entire organization. Believe me, if you reach this potential, developers (and everyone else in your org) will value testers.
- There's probably more, but I think you get the point
Once again, I'd like to remind you that I never said any of this would be easy.